The title duel pits two McLaren Young Driver Development Programme members against each other, with Kevin Magnussen (DAMS), the son of ex-F1 driver Jan in one corner, and Stoffel Vandoorne (Fortec Motorsports), the year’s leading rookie and the 2012 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion, in the other.
A winner in race two in France, Magnussen is in a commanding position. Holding a 43- point lead over his championship rival, the Dane is firmly in control of his own destiny at the end of a season in which he has chalked up 11 top-three finishes in 15 races.
To have any chance of success Vandoorne needs to have the perfect meeting and hope that Magnussen fails to finish both races.
Though he still has a shot at the title, the Belgian is by no means assured of the runners-up slot, with Portugal’s Antonio Felix da Costa (Arden Caterham) breathing down his neck.
A winner in Hungary and France, the Red Bull Junior Team driver also scored a notable double in Barcelona last year.
The battles for the minor placings also promise to be intense. Still to win this season, fourth-placed Nigel Melker (Tech 1 Racing) holds the slenderest of advantages over Nico Muller (International Draco Racing), while Will Stevens (P1 by Strakka Racing) has slipped slightly off the pace after his retirement in race two at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
After getting his first taste of life in F1 the day after the French event, Marco Sorensen (Lotus) also has designs on breaking into the top five.
Having returned to contest the final three rounds of the season, Spain’s Carlos Sainz (Zeta Corse) will be attracting plenty of attention, as will local teams Pons Racing and AV Formula.
The battle to succeed Tech 1 Racing as team champions is also still on, with DAMS well placed to hold off Fortec Motorsports and take the title.